I met Colin Rich in Delta; just a few selection classes behind me, he was. Born in Massachusetts, he had the accent and temperament of our fiery New England brothers. His accent and his sense of humor were two things that gravitated me to him during down time, to tell preposterous lies and shoot the shit (BKSE). My call sign then was Chik; Colin’s was Chainsaw.

“So how does it feel, Chik, to be a flat-landah?” He would often ask.

A flat-lander was was a term of moderate disrespect, but more so endearment for anyone who was from a low plains state such as Oklahoma, where I was born.

“Just peachy, Chainsaw… how does it feel to be a yankee bastard?”

“Yorra stinkah, you ahh Chik” and so it went.

I was blessed with many great years in Delta with Colin; many trips, many opportunities to suffer together, building strong bonds. To say that Colin suffered was an understatement. During his Operator Training Course (OTC) at the unit, he was struck high in the forehead by a .45 caliber ACP FMJ bullet, a stray round fired by another student in a very tight combat situation.

The .45 ACP is a slow-moving round, but with monumental knock down power. Because of the low velocity and the angle of impact high on his curved skull, the round did not penetrate his skull, but the force imparted a significant whiplash, one that plagues him to this day.

It left a perfect bullet profile scar on his head, just above his hairline… but in the shower or swimming pool, the scar stuck out when he brushed his wet hair back. Chainsaw was quick to quip at every opportunity: “Sure, I need that like I need another hole in the head.”